Thursday, 19 May 2011

Lorenza's Italian Restaurant, Cardiff Review

Update - Lorenza's has now closed
 I’ve finally succeeded in working my way through my Groupon stockpile. Last on the list was Lorenza’s Italian restaurant and as our voucher was due to expire in a couple of weeks, we decided we’d celebrate Tuesday night with a meal out. 

Lorenza’s fits the description of a local Italian restaurant perfectly. However it’s more tastefully decorated than some of the more dated joints I’ve come across in Cardiff and their menu of pizza, pastas, carne and pesci specials, is that little bit more exciting than the average. For instance pastas include paccheri (tube shaped pasta) served with homemade sausage, porcini mushrooms and cream. Service is warm and friendly if slightly on the laidback side. We waited a little bit longer than I would have liked between starters and mains, especially when the restaurant was fairly quiet. 

Last time we dined at Lorenza’s we both ate a really good fillet steak with red wine sauce and so tonight we decided we’d explore the menu more widely. For starters I opted for funghi trifolati (£4.75); mushrooms cooked with garlic, parsley and a hint of chilli served on toasted bread. This was really quite disappointing. The mushrooms were no different to those I would expect to be served with a fry up at a greasy spoon café. There was no real taste of garlic, chilli or parsley. Mrs G opted for a very simple yet tasty bruschetta romana (£3.45); toasted bread with tomatoes, olive oil, garlic, oregano & anchovies.  Nice and fresh tasting in comparison to my dish this was a very pleasant, light way to start the meal. 

All the fried mushrooms were missing was an egg and a slice of black pudding
Bruschetta - tastes as appears
Onto mains and this is where the chef of Lorenza’s showed his cooking ability. I opted for a zuppa di pesce (£14.95). I’ve been looking for a decent iteration of this dish to live up to my favourite version from our local Italian when we lived in Chester. Lorenza’s version gave it a pretty good run for its money. Stacks of beautifully cooked pieces of gurnard, mussels and king prawns served in a light and fresh tasting tomato soup with whole cherry tomatoes, celery and carrot. It was seasoned well with parsley, basil and a hint of chilli. The portion was epic and the small accompanying fingers of lovely, crispy garlic toasts were all that was necessary. The other half opted for a crab risotto (£11.95). Served rather prettily in a scallop shell with a twirl of leek on top, this dish was also top notch. Perfectly cooked risotto, not too claggy, not too wet, this dish had tons of crab taste and just the right hint of chilli to cut through the richness of the dish. Another real winner. 

A super zuppe
Crab risotto - I've never seen leek like it before
Suitably stuffed, we paid the bill and headed home (via KFC for a mini Krushem). We seriously enjoyed our main courses and agree that we’d pay full price for both of these dishes. However, what with the half price Groupon deal in addition, this was remarkably good value for money. 

Ordinarily, prices on the menu at Lorenza’s are fairly reasonable and they have some other very good value special offers to tempt you in – during midweek 2 courses and a glass of wine will set you back £9.95 and they’re also running their own Groupon style voucher scheme where you can purchase a voucher for £40 of food for £20 from the restaurant directly. 

The details: 153-157 Crwys Road, Cardiff, South Glamorgan, CF24 4NH, 029 2023 2261, Web: http://www.lorenzas.co.uk

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